Their client, a bachelor, had discerning tastes in furniture and fittings with a penchant for designer pieces. However, he didn’t have a specific brief for design directors Victor Loh and Yap Khoon Wah of Design Rebirth for his new 915sq ft apartment in the east. So over a period of a year in conference with the homeowner, the designers conceptualised a look of timeless contemporary luxury for his home – featuring an abundance of light wood tones in the common areas, and a more textured material palette in the private zones such as the master bedroom and bathroom.
Tiles are not materials traditionally associated with luxury. But the homeowner and the designers thought differently. In an unconventional move, they chose tiles for the main wall of the master bedroom. “The homeowner wanted an unconventional feature wall. We considered using marble or mosaic, but they would both look too hard,” says Victor.
However, when he saw a sample of Mews, a collection of tiles by Barber & Osgerby for Mutina, at riceLAB, he knew it would work. The colours of the tiles make them look ‘less hard’, he says, referring to the random tones of grey, which give the tiled surface depth and movement. The material also had a handmade artisanal quality to them for added texture.
Speaking of how homeowners are opening up to using tiles inspired by natural materials such as marble or wood for their flooring or walls, Victor says, “Now that these tiles look so much more realistic and come in larger slabs, they are increasingly replacing natural materials. With tiles, the homeowner doesn’t have to deal with the problems of porosity and maintenance that come with natural materials. “I would also propose to use tiles in wet areas, for safety,” says Victor.
Victor also turns to tiles for clients who want a controlled environment which still looks natural, as the design variation of tiles is more predictable. The Ergon Stone Project White Controfalda Nat tile used on the walls and floor of the bathroom of this apartment is one good example. The material’s even beige tones and subtle clouded veining bring a look of comfort and calm to the space. But one detail sets this bathroom apart. “Instead of just laying the wall tiles conventionally, we did so to create a line of symmetry in the bathroom, and that makes all the difference,” says Victor.
The way tiles are laid, says Victor, changes over time, and the same tile used in another bathroom might look very different. “That’s why I feel riceLAB plays a very important role with the progressive settings in their showroom, which shows how tiles can be used differently.” Victor adds that they are itching to use the large format slim tiles they see at riceLAB in one of their projects, but it has to come with the “right client, and the right space, with the right lighting”, he concedes.
All photos from Design Rebirth
See the featured tiles at riceLAB. Make an appointment to visit riceLAB by emailing us here or by calling 6692 1199. riceLAB is at 213 Henderson Road 01.03 Singapore 159553. RICE is open from Mondays to Fridays 10am to 7pm, and Saturdays from 10am to 6pm.